A Baltimore judge made unwanted sexual advances toward an attorney after a professional event, including putting his hand on the back of her leg, moving it under her skirt and touching her butt, an investigation has found.

The Commission on Judicial Disabilities determined that there is probable cause that District Judge Kevin M. Wilson engaged in sanctionable conduct and directed its investigative counsel to begin formal proceedings against him. He’s accused of violating five rules in the Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct including compliance with the law; promoting confidence in the judiciary; and bias, prejudice and harassment.

“Judge Wilson engaged in behavior unbecoming of an officer of the court and in direct contravention of a judge’s responsibility to promote confidence in the Judiciary and to maintain the dignity of judicial office,” the commission wrote.

Wilson responded that he genuinely believed that the two were flirting with each other but now realizes that he was wrong. He denies touching her butt.

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The Daily Record first reported on the investigation.

On May 18, 2023, Wilson went to a continuing legal education event that the Bar Association of Baltimore City’s Young Lawyer Division held at the Maryland Club in Mount Vernon and complimented her attire.

Following the event, the attorney reported that she felt Wilson touching her leg with his hand “in an up and down movement.” Two other lawyers stated that they witnessed his behavior, the investigation found, and one of them told him to stop.

Later, the attorney reported, she felt Wilson “place his hand back on her leg and move it under her skirt and touch her buttocks.” One of the other lawyers saw that happen, too, according to the investigation.

Meanwhile, Steve Silverman and Andrew Harvey, Wilson’s attorneys, filed a response and wrote that their client has a reputation for being fair, respectful and welcoming on the bench.

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Wilson met the attorney for the first time at the event, they said, and he took part in what he “genuinely perceived as reciprocal flirtation.” He touched her ankle, calf and lower hamstring and disputes that anyone told him to stop.

“Judge Wilson realizes and acknowledges that his honest belief was incorrect, and his touching made her feel uncomfortable, which he sincerely apologizes for and deeply regrets,” Silverman and Harvey said.

Following the event, Wilson, they said, has “taken proactive steps to guarantee what he never again puts someone in a similar position.” He started meeting twice a month in the summer with a therapist to “improve his interpersonal skills, better recognize power dynamics, and avoid similar situations in the future.”

Wilson had been scheduled to appear before the Senate’s Executive Nominations Committee on Monday, but he was removed from the agenda before the meeting.

In a statement, Carter Elliott IV, a spokesperson for Gov. Wes Moore, said the governor’s appointment office on Jan. 26 became aware of the nature of the complaint.

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“The decision was made to hold his nomination for reappointment from moving forward and it remains under review,” Elliott said.

Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2013 appointed Wilson to the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City. Wilson graduated from James Madison University in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance and earned his juris doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 1997.

From 2000-2013, Wilson worked as an assistant state’s attorney in the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office.

A spokesperson for the Maryland Judiciary, Bradley Tanner, said in an email that judges cannot comment on pending matters.

The Commission on Judicial Disabilities will hold a public hearing on the charges.

Baltimore Banner reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this story.